We sure love those rare cases where fan-made fix stories get a happy ending. Usually they're ignored, sometimes they're hit with a cease and desist for their hard work - this time, Rockstar Games has publicly thanked GitHub user tostercx for solving Grand Theft Auto Online's loading time issue, and is collaborating with them on an official fix to be released as part of a title update.
We covered the impressive solution concocted by tostercx - known in the rough virtual streets of Los Santos as t0st - earlier, with a link to their own dizzyingly detailed explanation of what was wrong, how they found it and how they fixed it. The fan-made fix is also freely available to download from GitHub, despite only being a "proof of concept" and as the author describes it, unsuitable for casual use.
Luckily, the collective gaming media kicked up enough of a storm around this discovery that the folks over at Rockstar Games took notice, and following "a thorough investigation", the developer can "confirm that player t0st did, in fact, reveal an aspect of the game code related to load times for the PC version of GTA Online that could be improved," as explained in an official statement.
That same statement once again thanks t0st for their work, and reveals that Rockstar Games is in touch with them while working on an officially implemented version of the solution, to be rolled out in an upcoming title update. When we can expect this patch, and whether it retains the original 70% improvement, is unclear.
Despite it's popularity and financial success, the loading issues that have plagued GTA Online for years went unacknowledged despite being entirely unacceptable for games in this day and age - the game may have launched on the PS3 and Xbox 360, but we're running much more capable hardware these days. With the official fix on the way, we'll soon be doing crimes in Los Santos much faster.
We covered the causes of the long loading screens in our official post, but here's the short version: an unintended bottleneck forced the game to use just one CPU core when loading, despite there being many available in modern processors, severely slowing down the process.
The other issue was that the function designed to check the mindboggling amount of stuff you can buy in GTA Online each time you load the game was awfully inefficient - it had to go through a massive JSON file into which all of these entries were dumped, and each time it got a successful return it hopped back to the start of the list instead of moving on.
In their original explanation, tostercx speculated that it would take a single developer a day to implement this fix in an official capacity. Since Rockstar is lumping in the fix with an upcoming title update, we'll have to wait a bit more than just a day, but nonetheless the solution is coming soon - stay tuned for more info on that.
It isn't exactly clear what kind of compensation t0st can expect for solving one of the longest-standing issues of one of the most profitable entertainment products ever to exists, but we sure hope Rockstar kicks some of that Bug Bounty cash his way - usually Bug Bounties are reserved for security threats, but this definitely deserves the recognition.
Update: tostercx has confirmed that they received $10,000 via the bug bounty program.